Floridians under 65 deemed ‘extremely vulnerable’ to COVID-19 eligible for vaccine

Reporter: Taylor Petras Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
A vaccine shot being filled. Credit: WINK News

If you’re a resident under 65 years old in the state of Florida, you will now want to see if you have underlying health conditions that will allow you to get vaccinated for the coronavirus.

Those under 65 years old in Florida who are considered “extremely vulnerable” to COVID-19 by a doctor are now eligible to get vaccinated.

The process: You need to have a doctor’s note that verifies COVID-19 puts you at high risk because you’re a cancer patient or have diabetes or suffer from another condition that meets defined eligibility criteria established by a form prescribed by the Florida Department of Health. DOH-Lee confirmed these forms will be given directly to hospitals and physicians.

MORE: Executive Order 21-47

Then, you need to make an appointment at Walmart, Publix or Winn-Dixie. Both Walmart and Publix are updating their online systems to reflect these eligibility changes.

The state-run sites are still exclusive seniors who are 65 and older and healthcare workers.

Cindy Mihm in Port Charlotte received her doctor’s note nearly two months ago. The 64-year-old has survived 10 heart attacks, two open heart surgeries and has diabetes. She very much wants the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Even with a note from my doctor, no matter what my underlying health conditions are, they don’t seem to care one way or the other,” Mihm said.

That’s changing now with the governor’s Executive Order 21-46 that allows people under 65 with underlying conditions deemed “extremely vulnerable” to COVID-19 to get the vaccine. Executive Order 21-47 confirmed the criteria to be determined as “extremely vulnerable” will be defined in the DOH form provided to hospitals and physicians.

“Trying to get this vaccine has caused so much extra stress,” Mihm said. “It’s making me worse in health than I need to be trying to get this vaccine by trying to win the lottery in the Publix vaccine dial-a-thon every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.”

Mihm is not convinced the executive order will help.

But DeSantis believes people will have an easier time getting appointments at the pharmacy.

“It took a lot longer to fill up tens of thousands of slots than it did two to three weeks ago,” DeSantis said publicly. “People are having a little bit better luck because the demand has softened and expansion of other pharmacies.”

Mihm hopes this is the shot of a lifetime.

“How do I fight? Not just for me but everybody else that qualifies?” Mihm said. “And believe me, I’m tired. I don’t want to have to try to keep fighting.”


Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.